I really wanted a break from YA fiction, so I decided to borrow The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day (new updated and expanded version) by Meg Cox from the library. I devoured this like a dish of ice cream after a week of dieting. Seriously, I sat at my desk during my lunch hour and barely looked up.
Cox explains why rituals and traditions are so important for a family. She includes a quote by Chip Conrad to emphasize her point:
There is a great difference between routine and ritual. Routines are obligatory activities that require little or no thought. Rituals encompass spirit, magic, and that overused word, empowerment, to transform you to new levels of accomplishment and being.
Yes! I'm drinking this Koolaid. Rituals and traditions matter. They matter because they connect us to our past and give us a sense of direction.
Cox lists the 10 Good Things Rituals Do for Children as:
- imparting a sense of identity
- providing comfort and security
- helping to navigate change (hello, transitions)
- teaching values
- passing on heritage
- teaching practical skills
- solving problems
- keeping alive a sense of departed family members
- healing from loss or trauma
- generating wonderful memories
The book is thankfully a good length (I never want a too short ebook) with chapters split between the more everyday rituals and holiday rituals. Everyday rituals included patterns and activities for going to bed, sharing meals, shopping, and just about anything in a typical day.
That isn't to say her suggestions were typical. Yes, some I'd heard before like flicking the headlights on and off to signal "I love you." But most were new ideas that I will gladly incorporate. How could you not try to keep the peace by having your squabbling teens only use Shakespearean insults? Even Bigbad who is not a fan of many prayers loved Cox's suggestion of a Quaker grace before meal: "Us and this: God bless."
I appreciate that Cox was aware enough and sensitive to different family units and included notes and suggestions for families of divorce or blended families. I wish that she had included ideas about growing families and births (mainly since I am focused on my niece's arrival and what rituals can surround that change).
Also, about midway through the ebook, there began a stream of many terribly sloppy typos (mostly "h's" turned "k's"). That sort of thing drives me crazy. I would probably buy the ebook if not for those egregious errors. Instead, I think I'll try to find a print copy.
Linking up at Art @ Home.
Linking up at Art @ Home.
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